A-State Women's Cross Country Finishes Third at Sun Belt Championships

A-State Women's Cross Country Finishes Third at Sun Belt Championships

MOBILE, Ala. (astateredwolves.com) – The Arkansas State University women's cross country team was unable to defend its conference title but nevertheless recorded a highly-respectable third-place performance at the 2014 Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Cross Country Championships held this Sunday (Nov. 2) in Mobile, Ala.

The Red Wolves, who were the 2013 conference champions, compiled 64 points on the 5k USS Alabama Memorial Park course to finish four points in back of second-place Appalachian State (60 points) in the 11-team field.  UT Arlington won the conference meet by producing a 51-point team score.  Louisiana-Lafayette finished in fourth place with 135 points and Georgia State rounded out the top five by tallying 150 points.

“Though the women did not achieve our goal of winning the conference championship, there were several positives to take away from the meet,” said A-State Cross Country head coach Kyle Chandler.  “Rexi Parcells ran a gutsy race in her final conference meet leading the great majority of the way.  She and Abbey Dixon did a great job working together, which helped both land conference place and time personal records. Additionally, both broke the A-State team conference meet record for time. Bailey Eller capped off her final conference meet by smashing her all-time personal best in both place and time.”

A-State featured four of the league meet's top 20 finishers as senior Rexi Parcells and junior Abbey Dixon paved the way.  Parcells, a two-time SBC Runner of the Week selection this fall, ran a personal conference meet best 17:09.5 time to earn third place while Dixon finished in seventh by clocking a 17:25.7 time, which was also marked a personal best in league meet competition.  Senior Tilda Helgesson achieved 14th place following a time of 17:37.7 and freshman Arnica Zitting crossed the finish in 17:49.5 to claim 18th place.
Behind those four for A-State were senior Bailey Eller who placed 22nd as a result of running an 18:01.4 time and was followed by senior Heather Newberry's 26th-place time of 18:12.2.  Senior Chelsey Roberson took 33rd place by posting an 18:31.0 time while sophomore Lindsey Mills ended up garnering 57th with a 19:43.9 time.

“What we need to learn from today's race is to focus more on running as a team,” Chandler said. “We started to spread out before the mile mark and we were never able to shore up our gaps. That was the difference between our placing and winning another conference championship. This senior group has been remarkable throughout their career as they have taken a program which never finished in the top half of a conference meet and four out of the past five years have finished in the top three to go with a conference title.”
Following the meet, Rexi Parcells received first-team all-conference recognition with her third-place finish while Abbey Dixon was named to the second team.  Tilda Helgesson was a repeat third-team all-league selection by virtue of placing among the 11th through 15th-place finishers.

The Red Wolves, which came into the conference championships currently ranked 10th in the U.S. Track and Field & Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division I South Central Region Rankings, were the conference's 2014 preseason favorite to defend their league crown after receiving a league-high six first-place votes and a conference-best tying 112 points per voting conducted by the SBC head coaches.

A season ago, A-State won the program's first-ever conference title as the Red Wolves accumulated a first-place 50 points at the 2013 SBC Championships in Troy, Ala.
Next up for the A-State women's team is a trip to the 2014 NCAA Division I South Central Regional Championship meet which will take place Friday, Nov. 15 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Fans can access the latest information on A-State Cross Country by following @ASTATETRACK<https://twitter.com/ASTATETRACK?&&&&SPSID=35098&SPID=2750&DB_OEM_ID=7200> on Twitter.
2014 Sun Belt Conference Championships
Women's Team Results
1. UT Arlington – 51 pts.
2. Appalachian State – 60 pts.
3. Arkansas State – 64 pts.
4. Louisiana-Lafayette – 135 pts.
5. Georgia State – 150 pts.
6. UALR – 163 pts.
7. South Alabama – 174 pts.
8. Texas State – 182 pts.
9. Troy – 198 pts.
10. Georgia Southern – 274 pts.
11. ULM – 332 pts.
A-State Women's Individual Results
3. Rexi Parcells – 17:09.5
7. Abbey Dixon – 17:25.7
14. Tilda Helgesson – 17:37.7
18. Arnica Zitting – 17:49.5
22. Bailey Eller – 18:01.4
26. Heather Newberry – 18:12.2
33. Chelsey Roberson – 18:31.0
57. Lindsey Mills – 19:43.9